Friday, August 15, 2014
Power keeping Campbell from everyday role
By Adam Rubin
NEW YORK -- Terry Collins notes that Eric Campbell really is not a power hitter. If he ever becomes one, the manager added, Campbell will have a hard time talking his way out of the lineup.
Campbell's second homer in 57 major league games proved the difference as the Mets beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-2, on Friday at Citi Field. Campbell, now regularly starting against southpaws in left field, delivered a three-run shot against left-hander Travis Wood in the fourth inning as the Mets overcame an early two-run deficit.
"He was struggling with his command that inning, so I figured if he's going to throw a strike, it's probably going to be something toward the middle, just trying to get it over," said Campbell, who had watched two teammates walk that inning. "He did. He left one over the plate and I got the barrel out there."
The shot also snapped an 0-for-18 beginning to the homestand for the Mets with runners in scoring position.
Collins, meanwhile, left Campbell in for the ninth inning with the Mets nursing a one-run lead, rather than insert Matt den Dekker or Kirk Nieuwenhuis as a defensive replacement.
Collins noted Campbell has a couple of outfield assists and has overall played solidly in left field, even though he is a natural infielder. Still, Collins said, his primary motivation for leaving Campbell in the game was to keep his bat in the lineup in case the Cubs had happened to tie the score against Jenrry Mejia. That's the case even though Campbell made the final out of the eighth and likely would not have batted again until sometime in extra innings.
Save and a beaut: Mejia converted his first save in a week with a perfect ninth. Even though the Mets suggest the hernia and calf issues are not impediments to Mejia pitching, Collins asserted that a light workload the past week probably has done Mejia good. Mejia was working his second straight day after a three-day layoff.
Running wild: Wilmer Flores was thrown out at third base for the second out of the seventh inning while trying to tag up on Curtis Granderson's flyout to left field. Collins labeled that an "error of enthusiasm" by a young player.
Campbell also was doubled off the bases -- when he took off from first base and didn't turn back on Juan Lagares' lineout to right field. In that case, Collins offered somewhat of an alibi -- that Campbell was stealing and lost the baseball.
Ouch: The backswing that struck Travis d'Arnaud on the elbow "smoked him," according to Collins. The training staff told the manager that d'Arnaud probably will need to wear a pad over the swollen area on Saturday.
Like a gazelle: Lagares was so graceful, it may have gone under the radar. But he glided into right-center and easily ran down what initially looked like a dangerous shot by Ryan Sweeney to lead off the ninth. "He makes them look easy," Collins said.